Pitching Preview | Pay up for Blake Snell, Stephen Strasburg or Luis Castillo?

Pitching Preview | Pay up for Blake Snell, Stephen Strasburg or Luis Castillo?

After the worst slate of the year last night, we have a full 15-game slate today. We have a couple of aces on the mound with massive strikeout upside, such as Stephen Strasburg and Blake Snell as well as some cheaper guys with favorable splits that we can take advantage of.

Pitchers to Use

Blake Snell

The Snell vs Strasburg decision today is a tough one. Strasburg has been absolutely dominant throughout the year, while Snell has the highest whiff rate for starting pitchers.

The numbers are all extremely similar for both guys, but I give Snell the edge due to strikeout upside. The Tigers are projected to roll out five hitters that strikeout more than 30% of the time against left-handed pitching. Pair that with Snell’s 43% whiff rate and you have massive upside potential here. I could see Snell striking out 10+ guys pretty easily here, which he has done three times this year.

There is nothing wrong with going Strasburg here, but Snell provides a bit of savings and they have similar upside.

Eduardo Rodriguez

ERod’s underlying numbers have been much better than his actuals. He has an ERA over five, but his SIERA is only 3.9. He has a solid K rate to both sides of the plate as well. Anytime ERod is priced in the mid-range, we have to have interest.

The matchup is among the best on the board as well. The Royals strike out around 25% vs lefties and they have a very poor ISO of .125 as well as a weak wRC+ of 73. ERod should also get six righties here against a Dozier-less Royals team, and he has dominated righties this year. He is allowing only 26% hard contact, 45% ground balls, and only 0.37 HR/9 to righties.

Devin Smeltzer

Smeltzer absolutely dominated the Brewers in his debut, and now he gets the lowly Indians, who every pitcher has seemed to dominate this year. He has had K rates of mid-to-upper 20s percent at each level except AAA this year. However, he did strikeout 35% of the Brewers he faced in his first start, so I think the small sample at AAA is not something we can fully rely on. This is a good matchup for a young arm. The only concern here is pitch count and how the Twins handle him if he gets into a bit of trouble.

Jared Eickhoff

I don’t like Eickhoff as much as the other two mid range guys, but he is in play. He has done much better against righties than lefties this year and he gets the righty heavy Padres team.

To righties, he has allowed 49% ground balls, WHIP of 1.09, xFIP of 4.0 and 22% soft contact. His K rate is only 23% to righties, but he is throwing three main pitches to right-handed bats and two of the pitches are generating whiff rates of 34% and 43%, so there is some upside here as well.

Pitchers to Pick On

Shane Bieber

If you want to get the best team in the league against right-handed pitching at no ownership, then load up on the Twins here. Bieber has taken the next step this year, but he has still had some poor outings against talented teams.

In his last outing, he gave up 6 ER, 3 HR in only five innings against Boston. He also gave up 8 ER and 5 HR in two starts against the White Sox, who hit righties much better than lefties. Another poor outing was against the Braves, where he gave up 5 ER and 2 HR in only two innings of work.

Simply put, Bieber has really dominated the weaker teams and has shown tremendous K upside. However, he has really struggled against the teams who are talented. The Twins have been really good to us this year, and this is a spot we can go back to the well.

Jeff Hoffman

Anytime Hoffman pitches, we have interest in stacking against him. He has a low ground ball rate of 35% (with the wind blowing out in Wrigley), a HR/9 of 1.8, WHIP of 1.6, and K rate of only 22%. The Cubs are going to be able to put the ball in play in the air here.

Taylor Clarke

Anytime there is a bad righty against the Dodgers, we have a massive interest. Clarke is just that. He is only striking out 9% of lefties while allowing an xFIP of 6.92 and HR/9 of 2.0 to them as well. This is a spot to load up Dodger power bats and the DBacks bullpen is bad as well.

Steven Brault

If this game was in Atlanta, I would have way more interest, but we still have to like the Braves here. They mash lefties, and Brault is a bad one. He is allowing a 1.9 WHIP, 6.6 xFIP, only 12% K rate, and 1.6 HR/9 to righties so far this year.

Reynaldo Lopez

Lopez is a guy I like to pick on and we can do that with the Nats here. The lefties are the priority, but we can attack him with both sides of the plate as he has a 5.18 SIERA, 5.85 xFIP, 2.07 HR/9, only a 20% K rate, 51% fly balls and 39% hard contact.

Glenn Sparkman

The Red Sox are in a great spot here against Sparky, who is a pitch-to-contact guy. He has only a 15% K rate and a 37% ground ball rate. The weather here is among some of the best on the slate as well and the Royals pen behind Sparkman is not good either. As bad as Sparkman has been, he can get even worse too as his left-on-base rate of 78% should decrease some.